Puberty Blockers Could Have Saved Me So Much Pain And Heartache

by Meghan Danzig
Spencer Platt/Getty

Team, this is a very uncomfortable picture to post but with all of the talk about the “irreversible damage” of puberty blockers and HRT, I felt like it is important to talk about what trans women have to go through when we are not given care as children.

I knew I was a girl when I was 4 years old. It was fear, shame, and lack of knowledge about gender identity that kept me in the closet for 33 years. If I had had positive images of trans women when I was that age, I DEFINITELY would have come out. I know it for a fact. I spent my nights wishing to wake up in the morning as a girl. I knew who I was back then, and if I had known about my options for treatment I would have pounced on them in a heartbeat.

But it was Indiana, it was the 1990s, and I was told that trans women were men who got off on pretending to be women and that we were all prostitutes who got AIDS and died homeless. Every representation of trans women showed us as either the punchline to a joke or dangerous monsters.

So I stayed in the closet and went through a nightmare of masculine puberty, and I very nearly didn’t survive it. I was sent to the hospital twice for suicide attempts. I was put on a rogue’s gallery of antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers; none of which seemed to work.

My face changed in ways that I hated. When I hear people use the word “irreversible damage,” the changes that masculine puberty did to me are what I think of. My voice deepened uncomfortably, my chest broadened, my muscles bulked up, my neck widened, and my facial hair grew in like so many parasites crawling through my skin.

And now that I am out, I am getting the treatment I need to exist comfortably as myself. This picture shows the immediate aftermath of a single treatment of full-facial electrolysis to permanently remove my facial hair. This is my 6th such treatment, and each one before it was MORE gruesome and MORE painful and MORE expensive than this one. I have so far spent $25,000 on these treatments, and I consider it worth every single penny.

If I had access to puberty blockers and HRT at the appropriate age, this pain and expense wouldn’t be necessary.

My face has a prominent browline, a masculine jawline, and a sloping forehead due to the irreversible damage of masculine puberty. My face singles me out every time I am in public, and the stares and insults it garners me from unsympathetic people contributes to the anxiety I have from CPTSD (almost certainly heightened by the weight of living closeted for my entire childhood). The way my face is shaped literally puts me in danger when I try to exist comfortably as myself in the public sphere. I will require invasive surgery costing tens of thousands of dollars to correct it. I will consider it worth every penny.

Meghan Danzig/Facebook

If I had access to puberty blockers and HRT at the appropriate age, this pain and expense wouldn’t be necessary.

I have spent a year in vocal therapy to get my voice to a place I am comfortable expressing myself with. I still think I will require surgery that will cut my vocal chords in twain and sew them back together in order to exist comfortably as myself.

If I had access to puberty blockers and HRT at the appropriate age, this pain and expense wouldn’t be necessary.

My heart breaks for the trans kids who are right now under the care of parents and guardians who refuse to allow them to undergo puberty blockade and HRT at the appropriate age and under a doctor’s care. I wonder if these parents understand just how much their children will resent them for the rest of their lives, or if they know and do not care.

I know that if I found out my parents knew I was trans and had tried to suppress me rather than affirm me, I would NEVER forgive them.

And now we will have tens of thousands of trans kids in the states where these awful, cruel laws are being passed who will know that the state made the affirmation of their true selves illegal. I promise you they will NEVER forgive those who made that possible.